What’s going to happen with Nationals in 2021? It’s the question on every competitive weightlifter’s mind.
Over the past few weeks, the states have been announcing that, due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19, they will hold their own junior and under 23 “Nationals” events at individual state hubs, in lieu of the nationwide live event that was meant to be held in Perth.
First, we saw a post up on Queensland Weightlifting’s Instagram page. Then we saw on Western Australia’s. Entry forms were sent out by state reps and that was that.
As always, there has been a deafening silence from the AWF.
Now, we’re not saying that the AWF needs to go crazy, creating live, interactive media or paying a skywriter to etch the announcement in vapour, but the AWF has a huge platform in Australia — big event announcements is what it should be used for.
Regardless, this was the best outcome the AWF could hope for. Athletes will still get to compete in a live competition on March 19-21 for the title of National champ. It’s just that now they’ll do it at a state hub rather than at one massive event.
Of course these smaller events won’t have the same atmosphere as a regular national competition but it’s ten fold better than an online — or, even worse, an “email” — competition.
New Zealand ran something similar in 2020 for their Schools Champs. Despite Auckland going into lockdown around the time of the competition and having to postpone their segment of the event, it worked brilliantly.
Photographs were posted but never of the weights. Athletes kept all their lifts quiet until the final stage of the competition was held and all the results were released.
One big question concerns the rule for when two or more lifters hit the same total. Who’s going to win? Will it still be whoever lifts it first? Australia has different time zones and this could become a big factor in determining a couple of podium spots.
Who we’re most excited to see lift
Two of the biggest names you can’t ever look past are Tori Gallegos and Maddison Power — two powerhouse athletes out of Queensland.
It seems as though they have been in the sport for decades given how much each of them have achieved. But neither is even “decades” old at this point.
Maddison has moved up a weight class to the 71s. With the ever-dominant Sabah Chamoun moving up an age category to the under 23s, this leaves Maddison and Ruby Carwardine (WA) to go head to head in the Juniors.
Of course, with this new “state hub” format, they won’t be competing in the same room, so they will have to summon motivation from something other than a face-to-face rivalry to ensure they can lift their best.
In the 55kg males, Deacon Mercieca sits atop the rankings not only for his age group (under 15s) but also in the number one spot as an under 23 and third overall in seniors.
This is an incredible feat for this young lifter out of Shred Performance in NSW. We recently saw a post announcing he will be going up a weight class and although he sits third behind Jack Gibson and Joshua Strange, the race is on and it’ll be an exciting battle to follow.
Nelson Harris is always a name you expect to see on top of the podium for the 73s. But there’s some new blood coming through that weight class.
While those names might not necessarily put pressure on Nelson this year, they can’t be overlooked in the next few years. Jacob Tout out of Victoria is on a warpath, training out of his garage and looking to be a real and oncoming threat.
Any young lifter with “WA” next to their name needs to be taken seriously. Western Australia is building a young team that just continues to look better and better.
Names like, Manaia Kainuku (49kg), Ruby Carwardine (71kg), Tanaya Quinsee (76kg), Oliver Saxton (81kg) and many more.
By the looks of what they are doing over there, they are creating a fantastic team of lifters and a great lifting community.
Jaspa Hope out of the Whitsundays is our final lifter to watch out for. In the 89kg weight class, his numbers continue to creep up and in his last competition he hit a PR total of 11kg at 268kg.
Here’s hoping these state hub events go off without any COVID complications and we get to crown some national champs in 2021.
Be sure to keep your results quiet and make sure there’s no interstate spys relaying information for your sessions.